Seattle, Washington Aren’t There Better Identities You Could Be Stealing?

Christmas happened.

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Then New Years.

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Somewhere in the middle, Melissa and I had a small going away party.

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A whole lot of plane tickets were bought.

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Our travel agent, Lynn, earned herself a long nap.

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And here we are, a couple hours from departure to Belize. I finished packing a full five hours before the flight, which is an all-time record – prompted by my highly responsible girlfriend who doesn’t think idling away my last day here with Sudoku puzzles is a particularly efficient way to spend my time.

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Yes sir, I’ve actually pretty much made all the preparations I need to make, said goodbye to everyone I need to say goodbye to, done every little thing I need to do…I think…

…So some jackass stole my identity and has been using it to collect donations.

I was alerted to this on Christmas Eve, though it’s been going on since August. A guy posted my video on a site called YouTube.com, claiming to be its creator. He asked for PayPal donations at the address: [email protected] – a string of letters which, coincidentally, happens to contain my name.

I hold YouTube in no way responsible for this. They seem like nice folks and they certainly can’t be expected to confirm that everyone is who they say they are, but the video has gotten several hundred thousand downloads on their site and a lot of those downloaders surely saw the bogus request for donations.

I was able to write to the guy who posted the video, through the site’s message service. I told him I don’t know who he is, but I’m almost certain he’s not me, and he better stop what he’s doing.

His response:

“listen, I need money badly. I cant get a job because im bipolar and my parents are poor. I’ve already racked up ~$250 with my little "scam" but im willing to let you have 5% of my earnings. I DID post the video online. Uploading it to this website, used .20% of my monthly allocated bandwidth transfer, costing me a deduction of .5 megs of my child pornography downloading habit. The strain on my ISP was immense when uling (sic) this video, so I do deserve at least $245+ . Please IM me if you’d like to discuss the 5%. brb cops”

How about that? What an asshole!

Here’s my dime-store, pop-psych evaluation: the guy recognizes, on some level, how much of a scumbag he is, and has inserted ironic exaggerations of his depravity to diminish the significance of his less-than-upstanding behavior.

By implying a kiddie porn habit, he’s poking fun at me for equating such an activity with what he’s done. The “brb cops” at the end is, I think, shorthand for “I’ll be right back, the cops are chasing after me,” which again ironically suggests that he’s some sort of hunted criminal. The subtext is: “So I used your name to bilk money from people. Big deal. It’s not like I should be put in jail. Don’t be such a prick.”

Point taken. Maybe I shouldn’t take this so seriously. Maybe I shouldn’t reporty you to the FBI’s internet fraud division and have them contact the relevant authorities in your area. Maybe, instead, I should just make your AIM screen names of: “ZLK” and “thewinecork” available to whomever reads this and leave it at that.

The root of the issue is this. All you need to know is as follows: I will never ask you to pay me for anything. This site is gratis, as is the video, wherever it might be found. If anyone says differently – even if they claim to be me – for God’s sake don’t give them anything. The real me is doing just fine, thank you.

I’m pretty skeptical about that $250 figure, anyway. Hopefully it’s just the raving fabrications of some stunted, semi-functional man-child.

Anyway, plane leaving soon. Lots on my mind. Gotta make sure I’m not forgetting anything. Further dispatches to be issued sporadically from points south, southeast, east, and beyond. Map to be updated automatically. Correspondence is, as always, welcomed, though it may take me a couple weeks to reply.

19 Responses to Seattle, Washington Aren’t There Better Identities You Could Be Stealing?

  1. Samantha

    What an idiot.

    “Yeah, lemme collect money, illegally, and then I’ll tell everyone I have problems!! That’s gonna be fun.”

    *punches*

  2. Man that sucks that some people are like that, really ruins the fun for the rest of us, ne? The funny part of that was I had seen that video and the donation thing and I kind of sat back and wondered ‘if he has money to do all these things, why plea on a webpage where most of the people viewing it won’t donate to start with?’

    Now I know why.

    Good look on your latest journey – hope to read more from you soon.

    – Bryan

  3. Rich Rossi

    Man,

    That is really rotten. The bad thing is the guy got away with it. I can almost guarantee that he got a HECK of a lot more than $250. :(

    It looks like you’ve recovered from your horrific sunburn now? I’m glad to see that and I wish you luck with your trip to Belize.

    Good for your girlfriend for giving you a swift kick in the butt! I read about your other travel snafus (sp?) and you need one sometimes! I guess when you travel in some of the places you’ve been you get used to flying by the seat of your pants (pun intended) and missing a flight doesn’t concern you horribly.

    Anyway, I’ll be looking forward to reading your account of more travel. Thanks for providing this site!!!

  4. Ed

    Matt,
    Thank you for all the wonderful, albeit vicarous adventures! Keep up the good work.

    Although you did not ask me about your “ID theft buddy” – he is a good kid (grades, swimming, cross-country) Apparently a whiz at robotics. Aspires to programming shooters. Not a wealthy family, but his school is over $8,000 year.

    But this is not the only hinky game he has played on the net. What do you think – his guidence counselor, parents, or the cops?

  5. Regina

    I found your site through the very link your are speaking of.

    What crap-head! I am sorry this has happend to you.

    Besides that, you have made me smile…inside and out…

    Thank you!!!

  6. Well I would not worry to much about that stain. I am sure he will get what he gives. Lets move on the the happier event. We are about see you dance your way around the world again. Now thats much better than anything I have heard or seen in a long time. Go with peace in your heart, and a dance in your feet. – Peace –

  7. Bushwack

    The chutzpah some people have! You go Matt and enjoy your life. I shall live vicariously through your travels and adventures.

  8. Matt

    Matt,
    Dude .. sorry this happened. That sucks, that guys sucks, the whole situation sucks. Sorry about all the suck.

    Anyways, have an incredible adventure .. we (my family and I) think it’s very cool whatcha r doing. We are even working on our own dancing video – but i know it won’t compare to yours. You rock dude .. have a safe trip!
    Jenni

  9. Cara Forshaw

    What an ass. Its probably some 17 year old thinking hes the smartest kid on the planet, I can’t wait till reality hits him in the face.

    Love Cara

  10. Greg

    hello,

    I am french (sorry if I don’t speak english very well), i have seen your “dancing around the world”. Great travel !
    If only i had had this idea when i have visited China.

    Bye

  11. See, when my husband saw your video, he said “this is what the internet is for!” He really loved it.

    It makes me sort of sad and disgusted that someone else saw your video and thought “this is what the internet is for!” as he started scamming people using your name. That’s just ridiculous.

    I did find you via YouTube, by the way, and I’m glad I did.

  12. the_ma

    Matt,post up some shit about Belize-how did you find it? Did you dive, and were the reefs healthy? Do tell. Nice dancing, by the way.

  13. Jim

    Hey Matt,

    One good thing about that YouTube video (don’t take it out on them) I never would have found your site if it hadn’t been up there. You video is one of the top favorites of all time.

  14. loralee choate

    Uhh…I’m bi-polar and I don’t believe I am an asshole like this guy.

    That just sucks, man.

    I found you through YouTube also and think your video is amazing. You would be a cool guy to talk to!

  15. Was given the youtube link to your video by a friend, and followed it to your website – there is just something about it and you that makes me smile. Great job, and I hope you realize how amazing your life is that you get to travel around the world the way you do. Enjoy every minute of it.

  16. jodie

    This site is amazing. It looks like you are having an amazing time. You should do a dance with a ninja cause that is all this website is missing. Take care and be safe!

  17. Stela

    Hi! I really liked the site.
    But I can´t open the dancing; error in page.
    How can I acess the dancing??

  18. Peni

    Hey thanks for the videos. It brought a smile to my face. Original dance moves, my man! Best wishes for your future journeys.

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